Mixed Berry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart

I first saw this recipe here and knew since my Taste Tester loves a berry tart, I needed to try this recipe sooner than later. I used our favorite mix of berries: strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Though there are several components to this recipe, none were difficult and it came together fairly quickly. You do need to plan ahead a bit as this is not a last minute type of dessert. The dough needs to chill for a while before baking and the crust and topping should be baked and cooled before assembling the tart.

My Taste Tester enjoyed the crust and the crumble of this tart but preferred the pastry cream from our usual tart recipe over the cream cheese filling in this one. He said he could not tell the difference between the two crusts but did really enjoy the crumble and has asked if I can make the topping again and add it to other baked goods. I may try it on top of our usual tart and see how that tastes.  My thoughts are that this tart seems like a more sophisticated version of a fruit pizza, while it is good, the cream cheese filling just didn’t do ‘it’ for me.

I would make this again for company as I do think it is a crowd-pleaser and would be great for a summer dessert.

I rate this recipe an 8

Mix Berry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart
recipe adapted from here

Cookie Dough Tart Crust:
2 tablespoons slivered almonds (I used 1/4 cup)
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Almond Crumb Topping:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped (I used a bit more)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved (quartered if large) (I used a variety of mixed berries)

1. Make the Tart Crust: Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain (about 10 pulses). Add the yolks and vanilla and continue pulsing until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, shape into a thick disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften at a cool room temperature for about 20 minutes, just until it is soft enough to roll without cracking, but still firm. Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Flour the work surface and the dough and gently roll the dough into a 13-inch disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed. Transfer it to a 10-inch tart pan. Evenly fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against both the bottom and side of the pan. Trim away any excess dough at the rim of the pan by rolling over with a rolling pin or scraping it away with the back of a paring knife. Slide the tart pan onto a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.

3. When ready to bake, arrange the racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

4. Make the Crumb Topping: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the chopped almonds. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the butter until all of the dry ingredients have been evenly moistened. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, then use your fingertips to break the mixture into ¼- to ½-inch crumbs. Scatter the crumbs on the prepared pan.

5. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator, and remove the plastic wrap. Line with a piece of parchment paper and fill the pan with pie weights. Bake the tart crust in the lower third of the oven and the crumb topping in the upper third. After 10 minutes, remove the paper and pie weights from the tart shell and place it on the upper rack, and move the crumbs to the lower rack. Continue baking the tart shell until it is dry and light golden, 15 to 20 additional minutes. Bake the crumb topping until it is deep golden and firm, 10 to 15 additional minutes. Check the crumbs around the 10 minute mark and then go from there Cool the crust and the topping on wire racks.

6. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed just until it is smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.

7. Assemble the Tart: Spread half the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the sliced strawberries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the strawberries. Evenly scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, lightly dust the topping with powdered sugar and garnish with additional strawberries, if desired. Unmold the tart from the pan and place it on a platter. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers.

Note #1: You can omit the nuts in both the crust and the crumb topping. No need to substitute anything else.

Note #2: You should assemble the tart within a few hours of serving it, as the crust will soften after it has been refrigerated.

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondies

They sound great don’t they!
I rarely bake using fruit (not sure why because I LOVE fruit!!) and have been playing around with this dessert idea in my head for some time. I wanted to make a blondie that utilized one of my favorite fruits and decided to try and make a Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondie.

These did  not come out as I had pictured in my head. While good, they did not have as strong as strawberry flavor as I had hoped and the cheesecake swirl was kind of sticky and gummy (not the smooth and creamy consistency I was envisioning). I think the cheesecake portion was gummy because I had added a large amount of preserves to the mixture in an attempt to create a real strawberry flavor. I ended up with cheesecake batter that was thinner than I had wanted but I did not want to add more cream cheese to dilute the strawberry flavor.
Next time I may try Strawberry flavored Cream Cheese along with a few preserves. I did not use the flavored cream cheese this go around because I think it can taste artificial and I wanted to keep the recipe as ‘pure’ as possible.

I also did not add a lot of ‘extras’ to the batter since this was my first attempt and really wanted to test out the flavor of the strawberry cheesecake swirl. I did add a few white chocolate chunks which complimented the flavors nicely and added a bit of textural interest to the bars. I bet toasted pecans would be wonderful as well. As is these were best after cooling in the fridge for 24 hours and served cold with a scoop of Strawberry Icecream!

All in all this is a good bar but could use some improvements to live up to what I have pictured in my head. Like I said, next time I will try flavored cream cheese and less preserves in order to keep the cheesecake swirl nice and creamy. I would suggest trying these out and adding your own twist! If you have a successful recipe be sure to let me know!!

I rate these bars a 6 (but they have potential to be much better!)
I would give these a 7 after chilling 24 hours and served with Strawberry Icecream

6 TBS butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coarsley chopped White Baking Chocolate

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Seedless Strawberry Preserves
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg yolk
1-3 drops Red food coloring (optional but I used)

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg yolk and food coloring if using and beat just until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour baking powder.
Mix in chopped white chocolate and nuts (if using)

Pour 2/3 batter into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Dollup strawberry cream cheese mixture and remaining blondie batter over blondie batter in pan.
Run a knife through the blondie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 32 minutes)
Cool on rack before cutting.